ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- There was some fiery rhetoric inside Tropicana Field tonight as roughly 3,000 people of faith filled the chairs for FAST -- an acronym for Faith and Action for Strength Together. They want pledges from Pinellas lawmakers that the needs of low income members of the community will be met in healthcare, housing, education, and jobs.
"It's time for us to come together and speak truth to power, and demand justice for all of those who live in our county," said Rabbi Michael Torop of Temple Beth El.
The biggest issue is the push for a new ordinance that would mandate hiring local workers, including those with non-violent, criminal records, for any public development that uses tax dollars. St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster pledged his support.
"If we're not a city of second chances, then the recidivism is tremendous, so that's why we care," said Foster.
Lawmakers attending the event all pledged support, but some members of the community-at-large were troubled, asking why taxpayers, who have played by the rules, must pay for dental coverage and housing for others. So, 10 News asked that question.
"Why should the county, why should government, pay to fix people's teeth?"
"Well, when someone has a toothache without dental insurance, it turns into an infection, then turns into a blood disorder, then turns into a heart condition, and they go to the emergency room, costing taxpayers more than 8 million dollars a year," said Father Bob Schneider of Espiritu Santo Catholic Church. "It's cheaper to fix problems early before they become bigger problems and create a bigger financial burden."